Stakeholders rue routine rejection of local produce, air cargo overseas

Stakeholders rue routine rejection of local produce, air cargo overseas

For the umpteenth time, stakeholders yesterday, lamented continuous rejection of local produce and other air cargoes overseas.

Meeting at the third Chinet Aviacargo Conference in Lagos, the mixed audience of regulators and industry players said most of the raw produce freighted abroad are still hobbled by traceability issues, compliance, and certification challenges among others.

The Guardian recently reported that over 70 per cent of food exports from Nigeria are still rejected abroad, with huge financial loss to exporters and the country at large.

Director of Operations, Omni Blu, Captain Kenneth Wemambo, yesterday, said the rejection of Nigeria’s agro-products by the international community was due to a myriad of reasons.

Wemambo, who spoke on the conference theme: ‘Unlocking the Logistics Barrier to Improve Agro-product Exports’, noted that 90 per cent of exports are raw produce, without added value or detailed constituent, for easy identification by the receiving countries.

He said it is not discriminatory when Nigerian goods are rejected abroad. Rather, “we have just not complied. If we have good produce to export, will the European Union (EU) not buy it? It means we must clean up our produce back home.

“There must be product traceability, you must have the information of your product; where it comes from, where it is registered, what was the process? You must have the information or nobody will take your products.

“Why are they rejecting our produce? What countries do we ship to? Asia? Europe? Some states in the United States? From what we ship out, 90 per cent are in their raw stages. This is not sustainable. When they are processed, you have it better for export. We shouldn’t be exporting raw produce; we should break down our agro-product and add some value.”

Managing Director JOHDIC Resources limited, John Ekeanya, added that logistics bottleneck remains a major factor hindering successful export of local produce.

Ekeanya highlighted impediments affecting effective logistics to include insecurity, banditry, infrastructural deficits, multiple taxation, high tariff, poor government policies on trade, poor incentives for exporters, inconsistent availability of farm produce and other exportable goods, poor storage facilities such as silos, cold rooms, among others.

He proposed addressing the menace of insecurity and banditry, securing the farms for farmers as well as improving the railway system for ease of movement.

He said equipping special-purpose cargo airports nationwide, with the appropriate storage facilities and processing silos, warehouses for agro products and manufactured goods, should also be the priority of states.

Earlier, Convener of the Chinet Aviacargo Conference, Ikechi Uko, said Nigeria has the wealth and resources to take the world by storm, if only the stakeholders are ready.

Uko said: “Today marks another day of knowledge sharing along the Aviacargo Value Chain. We have many experts in Nigeria. We have money in Nigeria. We have resources in Nigeria, but we have not been able to get many things right. What has been missing is the will power and resolve to bring together these variables into a workable mix.”

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